"The Ransom of Redhead"
by Barney F. Brazil
"This box was delivered to our doorstep," Velma Dinkley said excitedly, holding the long box.
Daphne Blake smiled widely, sure what it was, having seen (and bought) so many dresses before. Without a moment's hesitation, she ripped it off and flung off the top to reveal a stunning white gown. "It's
from your secret admirer," Velma observed, noting an envelope from the box debris.
I've never seen anything so
Velma nodded. "It must have cost a fortune. I'm not sure how Fred could afford
"Forget how!" Daphne shook off her roommate's comments. "It's perfect. With a veil and a few add-ons, I could get married in this."
"Would love to see you try it on, but I gotta run
date with Shaggy, you know."
Daphne waved her off. "Just get him to leave Scooby behind this time!" she called over her shoulder as she ran to her bedroom to get into her newest satin possession.
It took her barely a minute before she was already purring into her large vanity mirror. It was then that she caught sight of the envelope. The writing seemed a little fancy for Fred, but the envelope wasn't empty. A flip of her letter opener and the contents spilled out. Rather than offer any additional details, it simply contained
a gold necklace with a pendant that would be costly, even for a family as wealthy as her's. What had he done? To ponder the question of how her man could afford it all, she went out on their balcony into the courtyard, where a light evening breeze felt cool on her skin.
"Hello Miss Blake."
She nearly jumped out of her dress when she saw who was waiting for her. "Mr
.Mr. Magnus? What are you doing here? And why are you dressed as a pirate?"
"I'm your secret admirer, my lady. I brought you that dress you're wearing."
At that moment, Daphne reflexively clutched it to her body. "Wh-why did you give it to me?"
"Because I want my future wife properly dressed for our wedding night."
"But you're old enough to be my father
.and you hardly have a penny to your name," she pointed out. "Why
your company is bankrupt!"
"My company may be
but I am living quite comfortably," Magnus admitted. "You see, my dear, I am a pirate at heart
and in reality. I'm robbing my own shipping company!"
"But why on Earth would you do that?" the redhead gasped.
"So I can afford a comfortable lifestyle, without paying a dime in taxes," the shipping magnate grinned. "And that includes keeping my current and future possessions in the best styles."
.why you cad!" Daphne snapped angrily. "I would never be your wife!"
She backed up warily back to her balcony from the courtyard.
"But I can clearly see you love the genre, if not the man," C. L. Magnus pointed out. He gestured toward the book on her bed. The illustration featured a long-haired blonde maiden in a skimpy nightgown having her mouth covered by a black-bearded pirate. The helpless victim's expression showed nearly as much desire as helplessness at her predicament.
Daphne blushed with clear embarrassment. "It's just a fancy
.but I swear as long as I breathe that I'll never submit to your will."
"I didn't know a woman could do this to a man
I don't know whether to cover your mouth with my hand or my lips!" barked the pirate.
"I once thought you were a nice man, but now I can clearly see you're nothing but a nasty, vulgar rogue!" She spun on her heel to return to her room.
But she didn't get more than a step before the thick gloved hand of C. L. Magus yanked her back. A cape of his was thrown over their bodies. Before she could let out a scream, the pirate had stuffed a white handkerchief into her mouth.
Mmph! Mmph! She fought desperately to scream for help, wishing she had done so earlier. But now he had each of her arms pinned underneath a powerful knee. Helplessly, she watched him pull a long thick cloth object from a chest pocket. He placed it over her mouth, where she was desperately attempting to spit out the wad blocking her mouth. Now it was secured, as he wrapped it around her head, and knotted it behind her thick wavy hair.
"Stop that or I'll use the bottle of ether on you!" Redbeard hissed.
her screams were too muffled anyway to do much good. And she definitely didn't want to be put to sleep. She wanted to see exactly where and how he would take her away, so she could escape later.
Instead, she merely glared angrily at him as he motioned for two confederates, also dressed in pirate garb. The trio proceeded to knot a thick rope around her wrists, bind her arms to her body, link her ankles, and eventually tie her legs together as best they could through the fabric. Now she resembled a bound sack of Daphne.
"Don't look at me so
I've read about your 'adventures' in the paper," Magnus chuckled. "Clearly you enjoy this sort of thing
being a damsel-in-distress."
Yeah, but maybe being rescued by Fred instead of a creepy man like you, she attempted, though her words were muted. Clearly the three men enjoyed hearing her stifled, so she decided to stop her diatribe.
"Best assignment yet, captain," the first of the two proclaimed as the helped left her to her feet, so Redbeard could sling his prize over his shoulder after donning his hat and fake beard.
"And the fun as just begun," the other sang out.
Redbeard considered his helpless captive. "You make courtship a little more strenuous than I like it!"
The three laughed as the redhead glowered at them over the silk fabric covering much of her mouth as they stuffed her into a carriage parked on the other side of the courtyard. The two pirate crewmen produced a burlap sack, and pulled it over her head. But before she disappeared from sight, a final piercing stare came from the kidnapped redhead, as if to say "I shall remember this."
That night, a knock sounded at the residence of Frederick Jones, Esquire. By the time he fumbled for his robe and slippers and stepped on his porch, the person making the rapping was gone. Instead, a letter appeared on the doormat.
Expecting the worst, he opened it. Sure enough, the familiar cut letters from a local newspaper on a pair of clean white sheets of paper read "I have your fiancé Miss Daphne Blake in my custody. No police or you'll never see her again. Gather one million dollars for her release, and await further instructions. Signed Redbeard the pirate.
Once again, his college sweetheart was the victim of a cruel kidnapping. Hopefully, she'd be able to hold on until he and his pals could come up with a rescue plan.
The next morning, Redbeard awoke, smiling to himself. He dressed rapidly. To "soften" his captive up, he left her bound and gagged for the cold row out from the long boat to his pirate ship "The Red Rover," as well as the evening in the small room to the side. By morning, she'd be tired, thirsty, famished
desperate for anything. Breakfast would look heaven-sent. He'd be seen as her savior. In a matter of days, once such kindness became routine and more fancy gifts were bestowed upon the spoiled heiress, she's fall for him. And the ransom note sent to her parents would add an ample dowry to their holdings, especially when he had no intention of honoring it. When the time was right, he had a preacher in a faraway port who would perform the ceremony
What was happening? The large pirate stormed into the room where Miss Blake was being held. The first thing he saw were his two crewmen who helped with the abduction lying sprawled in a heap on the floor. Looking at him was the young lady, still bound and gagged, though he could swear she was smiling underneath the silk scarf covering her mouth.
"What happened?!" he roared at his men.
"She kicked me and I fell over!" the first crewman whined.
"I bent over to help Paul up
and she did the same to me!" the other complained.
"And we were about to loosen her bindings," the first one said to his boss. "No appreciation whatsoever from this
"A real fire-haired temptress, I'd say," the pirate minion added. "When I tried to give her a glass of water, she bit my hand when I took the handkerchief out of her mouth! I gagged her right and proper because of it. All spoiled dames ought to have one!"
Redbeard bellowed with laughter. "You ninnies! You don't know how to handle a woman. Let me show you how it's done."
He knelt down, eye-to-eye with the seated hostage. "Now there'll be no fun and games, unless you want to skip breakfast. Understand, milady?" She gave no indication that she heard him, but continued to stare angrily at him. At least she wasn't mewling into her gag, or wiggling wildly around.
"There'll be no trouble, eh Miss Blake?" She continued to stare, barely acknowledging his words. "If you don't behave
no food or water
or breaks. You hear?"
She swung her gaze away, letting her hair swing across her face, then resumed her mad glares. Captain Redbeard took her silence as a sign of assent then pulled the gag from her mouth.
After several coughing gasps, she looked up at her captor and announced "Well, are you just going to stand there, or are you going to bring my breakfast?!"
?!" Captain Redbeard growled aloud.
"And get me a clean glass of water," she snapped. "Those so-called 'helpers' of yours brought me TAP! Don't you barbarians have any bottled Aquafina?"
"You be quiet or I'll
"And my joints are aching being tied to this chair," Daphne rocked back and forth defiantly in the chair. "Unless I get a bath, massage, and a
"The only thing you'll get is silence
" Captain Redbeard roared.
"And that cloth you're gagging me with," Daphne began, noting what the pirate leader had picked up from the table. "What is that
some kind of linen napkin? If you're going to cover these lips, you'd better get me something finer, like a nice silk scarf, preferably, an impor.."
But at that moment, her words drowned out as Redbeard whipped the gag around her mouth, tying it tightly behind her head.
"When you've had a little more time to consider your fate, maybe you'll be a little sweeter to me and my crew," he announced to his captive.
"Mmph!" she seemed to say, seemingly more from satisfaction than dismay.
But it was Captain Redbeard who seemed vexed. How could this mere waif of a woman stand up to him? Didn't she clearly see that he was the stronger of the two, had her completely outnumbered, and helplessly in her clutches? Why wouldn't she at least cower, if not submit to him? Here she sought to stand up to him, not at all like the fair damsels of pirate stories. Well, maybe a few more hours bound and gagged would help the situation, he mused, as he strode out the door, angrily barking orders at his crew as he slammed the door, another attempt to intimidate her, or at least give her something else to think about.
When Redbeard returned, an hour past lunch, she continued to watch him as he strode in confidently through the door. Her angry glare seemed to be replaced by a more studious expression, as if trying to read his mind.
Maybe kindness would be the better strategy to lead with, Captain Redbeard reasoned. "Need a break from that chair?" he offered. She nodded her head. He untied the knots, and pulled the gag from her chin, so that it dangled from her neck. Without a word, she strode past him toward the bathroom. Good
proper behavior would be rewarded with privileges. It was a matter of instructing her, not intimidating her.
When she returned, however, the old fire in her eyes appeared. "What were you thinking?" her eyes narrowed to slits.
"I beg your pardon!" he shot back.
"A comb and convenience store brush
that's all you left me?" she spluttered with fury. "And 'Perk' shampoo? Are you kidding me? This hair's already a tangled mess with that saltwater ruining my hairdo, but your cheap products will ruin these locks for good!"
He stood there gaping at the feisty redhead, purpling with rage as she continued her diatribe.
"You sure plotted my kidnapping to the last detail, but you didn't even think about my needs? I'm sitting here in a chair all day, bored to tears when I could be watching "G" TV. And how am I supposed to find out if J.T. rescued Cordelia from Kristos on Guiding Night?"
"One more word out of you and I'll
"Are you going to settle every argument we have as husband and wife by shutting me up? Well, I'll let you know that I can stop talking any time I want, mister. You want quiet
you'll get it! One thing I can't stand is some gal who just doesn't know when to quit gabbing
Captain Redbeard finally blew his stack. "Swabs
.get in here and lash this wench to her chair!!!"
In a flash, the two crewmen who helped abduct her burst in, and grab her. But Daphne didn't succumb without a struggle. Though once again tied up and gagged, she had managed a few extra scratches and bruises where her foot and elbow connected with her captors.
"We'll see how you last a few more hours without your precious Soap Operas and prissy perks," Redbeard bellowed, before locking the door to his stateroom. Luckily, he couldn't make out the words she was muttering into her cloth.
Well after the dinner bell had rung, C. L. Magnus pushed open the door forcefully. The sound of wood hitting wood caused his sleeping captive to stir. A worried look appeared on her face. Good, he thought to himself. She's finally succumbing to this ordeal. She'll be begging for forgiveness in a minute.
He pulled the cloth from her mouth, expecting an apology. Instead, she asked nervously "What is that in your hand?"
"This?" he replied with a hearty chuckle. "It is a bowl of the best New England Clam Chowder on the high seas
made it myself, just for you."
"I only eat Manhattan Clam Chowder," she sniffed indignantly.
"Well, you'll eat it and you'll like it!" the pirate captain hollered. He scooped a spoonful and jammed it between her lips."
"I don't know what's worse
your cooking or your manners," she commented snidely.
"You're the very devil," Captain Redbeard bellowed. "I buy you this nice dress
get you fixins' for your hair
make you the best meal
and all you can do is sulk and
"I think one bite was quite enough," Daphne interrupted in a prissy voice. "In fact, I'd like my gag back please. It beats your food
or another pointless conversation with you!"
Enraged, he wadded up a napkin and stuffed it harshly into her mouth. He whipped another around her face, securing the packing into her mouth. But rather than look upset, she actually winked at him. He kicked over the table to the side, splattering scalding soup on his pants and stubbing his toe through the boot, making hop around in pain. She managed to make giggling sounds under her gag.
That night, Fred Jones heard another knock at his door. He had just come back from searching the harbor with Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, to no avail. Within seconds, he had undone all of the security latches. Again, a second letter was laying on the doormat, addressed to him. But instead of ripped letters, it was a handwritten note.
"Dear Mr. Fred Jones. Your fiancé is no longer in our custody. In fact, I find her the worst sort of lot for a captive. So I'm returning her to you, unharmed. Tomorrow, my men and I will go down to the police station and turn ourselves in. Anything would be preferable to life with that hellcat. In fact, I know that the best way to get even with the leader of the nosy kids is to return her to you. Enjoy that wedding you've been planning
you've got a lifetime to regret it
Signed, C.L. Magnus, aka "Captain Redbeard."
A sudden noise distracted him from the signature. At the bottom of the steps to his house was a sack, which seemed to be moving. "Et ih oh!" came the sounds from the bag. Rushing down, he frantically untied the knot, opened the bag, and found his fiancé sporting a white gag to match a nice, yet disheveled dress. He pulled off the cloth, and received numerous kisses of gratitude.
The next day, Daphne Blake sat upon her purple comforter in her dorm room, reading the paper, while relaxing in her pink nightgown.
"So C. L. Magnus turned himself in, I see," she observed.
.the life of a pirate
just didn't seem to agree with him," Fred added quickly. He had destroyed the second note before she could see it.
"He was the worst sort of gentleman," she declared. "Not like you, of course, big guy."
The blond beamed.
"Now don't forget to do the other nails on my toes after these dry," she commanded. "And be a dear and bring me my Cosmo and Diet Pepsi from the kitchen, won't you?"
Fred blushed in mild embarrassment. He began to see just a little of what Redbeard was talking about.